End of Life and Bereavement Counseling Can Be Life Changing
By Dorie Beach
In our final lecture on End of Life Preparedness (EOLP) on August 17 at St. Paul’s Church, I will discuss the benefits of EOL and bereavement counseling. End of Life Counseling is a given when Hospice is involved. Since Hospice patients are all diagnosed as terminal patients, bereavement work begins before death as the families and the patient experience anticipatory grief. In some families a common and understandable scenario of shielding the patient from the reality of his/her demise can take place. The patient takes his cue from the family, and often is silent about his upcoming death, and therefore is denied the opportunity to talk about his own feelings.
“End of Life Preparedness”
Mon, Aug17, 4-6pm
St. Paul’s Church
Despite knowing intellectually that death is imminent, when death comes, grief becomes overwhelming for the survivor, particularly when the paper work associated with a death is finally completed and the visits and phone calls from friends begin to taper off. The feelings of loss and emptiness dominate as the family members struggle to cope. The survivor intuits that after certain periods of time friends become uncomfortable hearing about the loss, yet the need to be heard is strong. This is when a bereavement group is most helpful. The bereaved need to tell their story, often many times, for in each telling healing takes place. In a group of survivors the common thread is a need to be heard and to be understood.
I am a Psychiatric Social Worker. In addition to having a private psychotherapy practice for over 30 years, I worked as an Oncology Social Worker, and organized support groups for cancer patients and their families. I also served as State Director of the “I Can Cope Program” of the American Cancer Society of Arizona. I Can Cope is an 8 week program designed to support and educate families of cancer patients. I was also the Bereavement Counselor for Hospice of the Valley, in Phoenix, AZ. Here in San Miguel, I served as both the Director of Bereavement and Director of Social Services with Hospice San Miguel.
Currently, I facilitate a support group for caretakers of patients with dementia/Alzheimer’s. I plan to offer an English speaking bereavement group in the near future, while maintaining my private practice. For more information on my groups and services, please contact me at 154 7605.
The EOLP series that began July 13 and ends August 17 is held in the Parish Hall of St. Paul’s Church located at Cardo 6. It is open to the public, but a recommended donation of 50 pesos per person per lecture is appreciated. These funds will be used to serve this population through a discretionary fund managed by Bishop William Gregg and Rector of St. Paul’s. For more information call 415 152 0387.